The Man Who Quit Money

Above: The Man Who Quit Money from Sacred Resonance on Vimeo. Length: 23:37

Meet Daniel Suelo

I watched this video several times yesterday, and I really love what Daniel Suelo has to say about living without money. And even more, I love what he says about breaking from the money-centric-mindset which dominates our society. He does it with a philosophically way of speaking which is grounded in the reality of having lived the life, having walked the talk.

This video conveys a message of hopeful truth: You can step outside the money system, and here’s an example of someone who doing just that, right now – and has been doing it, joyfully, for a number of years.

Here’s the little blurb about this video from Vimeo:

Meet Daniel Suelo. He’s been living without money for 12 years. When our paths crossed synchronistically in Moab, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to learn from this wise man. I interviewed him and found his philosophy and way of living inspiring and visionary.

For more about Daniel and his experiment of living without money, check out
zerocurrency.blogspot.com/
sites.google.com/site/livingwithoutmoney/

video source: https://vimeo.com/65171169

Learn More – A Great Book About Daniel Suelo

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While we’re talking about Daniel Suelo let me tell you about a book I read this last week.

The book is called The Man Who Quit Money and it is, in short, a well-written exploration into the fascinating life of a very interesting subject, Daniel Suelo, while also discussing a wide range of topics from the money to religion, from faith to healthy living in a freegan-style, from life in Moab, to life in a cave – and so much more…

I found it to be a great reading experience. Thank you Mark Sundeen for writing this book! Really, I mean that.

Note – Mark Sundeen, the author of this book, has not quit money, so buying his book would create no great moral dilemmas – no one’s ethics will be violated if you buy a copy. Heck, we’re even going to buy a copy of this book to keep in our library. As they say, “This book’s a keeper.”

My friend Josh loaned his copy of this book to me saying I would probably enjoy it… thank you very much Josh, you were right!

Once I started reading it, I devoured it in nearly an entire sitting which lasted until sometime after two in the morning. It was that excellent – even more than excellent!

Tania is reading it now, so Josh might not get his book back for a bit…

Here’s the blurb about the book from Amazon.com:

A Walden for the 21st century, the true story of a man who has radically reinvented “the good life”

In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings—all thirty dollars of it—in a phone booth. He has been living without money—and with a newfound sense of freedom and security—ever since.

The Man Who Quit Money is an account of how one man learned to live, sanely and happily, without earning, receiving, or spending a single cent. Suelo doesn’t pay taxes, or accept food stamps or welfare.

He lives in caves in the Utah canyonlands, forages wild foods and gourmet discards. He no longer even carries an I.D. Yet he manages to amply fulfill not only the basic human needs-for shelter, food, and warmth-but, to an enviable degree, the universal desires for companionship, purpose, and spiritual engagement.

In retracing the surprising path and guiding philosophy that led Suelo into this way of life, Sundeen raises provocative and riveting questions about our relationships with money and the decisions we all make, by default or by design—about how we live and how we might live better.

source: http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Quit-Money/dp/1594485690

Watch, read, and enjoy!

Imagine My Future

A short story by Jon Christopher.

This story was originally titled “Press The Record Button” and submitted to several magazines earlier this year. After having it rejected I decided to re-edit it, gave it a new title, a slightly different ending, and to post it here to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie on May 25, 1977.

MecoSW

The future was just a radio signal away…

Jonathan rapidly spun the tuning knob of the bulky shortwave radio sitting on the desk in front of him. He was scanning the AM band, moving from one top forty radio station to another trying to find his song. At the moment that song was the Meco #1 hit – Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band.

It was the fall of 1977, and Jonathan had just entered 8th grade, but Star Wars was what was really on his mind. The movie had come out in May and had changed everything for him. Jonathan had been a childhood Trekkie, but that was nothing compared to the impact Star Wars had on him. Since he had seen it for the first time – and he had seen it over twenty times by the time summer ended – it was just about all he thought about, all the time.

And now there was a song out on the radio (yeah it was disco and disco sucked, but this was Star Wars) with the theme song from Star Wars that included really cool laser sounds and R2D2 beeping, light saber sound and other sounds from the movie.

Jonathan was hunting for the song to capture it with a tape recorder. He had been doing it all Saturday afternoon – tuning from station to station trying to catch the song from the beginning so he could get a really good recording. He was sitting at his desk in his room. Most of the desk surface was taken over by the large, post-World War II era shortwave radio. His dad had bought it at a garage sale, but Jonathan had convinced his dad to let him keep it on his desk in his room.

Jonathan had constructed a spider-web like antenna array tacked up on the wall behind his desk. He was sure this helped him get better reception. He also kept his parent’s tape recorder sitting next to the speaker on the side of the shortwave radio to record things he heard. Often times he recorded the various foreign voices that came through the static just because they sounded so strange. Today he was using the tape recorder for a more basic need – capturing a pop music song.

So far he had recorded the song twice, but not completely. One time he had captured the end of the song, and once he got it about halfway through. He had been at it for several hours and his mind was starting to play games with him, offering suggestions like, “If you take a break for exactly 5 minutes then all the radio stations will reset and you’ll get your song” and “first tune to 10-Q and then over the KHJ, then quickly to the Spanish language station on the right end of the dial, then back to 10-Q” and so on.

After awhile of this Jonathan decided to take a short, five minute break and cruise the shortwave bands. The radio had three different shortwave bands which Jonathan would slowly scan from one end to the other, using the fine tuning knob when he found something interesting to bring the signal in even better. The eclectic mix of sounds and static as he moved across the dial was both interesting and soothing at the same time.

Near the end of his five minute break a voice came through the static, “Jonathan, press the record button on your tape recorder.”

Jonathan stopping turning the tuning dial.

After a couple of seconds the same adult, male voice repeated itself, “Jonathan, press the record button on your tape recorder.”

Jonathan pushed the record button on the tape recorder.

“Jonathan, I am going to tell you some very important information. This information will affect your whole life from this moment forward. Before we go on I must point out that what I am going to share with you must never – NEVER – be shared with anyone. No one but you can know these things. If anyone finds out you will be a dead man (or worse). Tell no one. Trust no one. Again. Tell no one. Trust no one.”

Jonathan’s adrenalin was kicking into high gear. He quickly got up and made sure the door to his room was closed as the voice continued.

“Jonathan. I am you, but I am 52 years old now. The year I’m living in is 2016. Many things have gone wrong in the world since I was your age, things I wish I could have done something about but couldn’t. I never had enough leverage, enough money, enough power to be one of the people that helped shape the world. When I was your age Jonathan I thought I would be one of those people…”

Jonathan knew exactly what he meant. He saw himself as someone who could be a politician or a judge or something when he grew up.

“Jonathan, what I have in mind to do is to give you the keys to the future, and the ability to change my current reality at the same time. If you make the changes I have in mind while you grow to be my age, together we could change the structure of the world.”

Jonathan didn’t quite comprehend what “himself” was saying, but the voice did sound vaguely like his own voice when he heard it recorded. He sat listening as the voice from the future continued.

“I am going to tell you somethings that will happen in your future, my own past, so you can use this knowledge for financial gain. I’m going to give you stock picks, market trends, lottery numbers, World Series winners, Presidential winners – everything you need to be one step ahead of everyone else.

We have several problems to take care of to make this work for us. The first problem is every bit of information I give you will start to change my own world. Our existences are entangled, and just your knowledge of these future events will change my present, your future. I have run extensive computer models to make sure we do this right. I have concluded that only by introducing certain ideas in a certain order, spread out over a certain period of time can we make these changes without completely messing the whole thing up. This is a delicate operation, but I know you Jonathan, and I know we can do it.”

Jonathan was overwhelmed at this point. His mind whirled on the impossibly of his situation. The voice continued.

“I’m going to give you a set of dates and events in a series of three broadcasts. We have to let a short period of time pass between the broadcasts so we don’t make errors we can’t fix in the next broadcast.

Remember – never, ever share these broadcasts with anyone. If even one other person knows, everything will change in ways we do not know nor can we predict.”

Jonathan from the future then read off a list of events, dates, and subjects for Jonathan to pay attention to at certain points in his life. He gave him companies to invest in, ways to get the money he’d need to invest, people he would need to know and ways to know them – for 20 minutes he gave him the basic insider’s guide to the next 39 years of American culture, politics, business and finance.

At the end of reading the list the voice from the future told Jonathan the next broadcast would be the following Saturday afternoon, at the same time and on the same frequency. And then the voice faded into static. Jonathan hit the stop button on the tape recorder.

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Consciousness, Quantum Physics and Being Human

Consciousness Is The Ground of Being

I watched this on Friday evening. It’s about an hour long and very interesting, if you’re into stuff like consciousness, quantum physics and being human. I had never heard Dr. Amit Goswami speak before, but he covered many ideas which I think about a lot.

At this point in time (2013), the study of consciousness is still on the fringes of scientific study. As I mentioned to a friend the other day, “You could homestead in the field of consciousness and still not have a neighbor for miles around. That’s going to change soon…”

In my opinion this is going to change entirely in the next twenty years as “trans-humanism” starts becoming a reality. I think some of the most important subjects in science from 2035 to 2050 are going to be these questions:

  1. What is consciousness?
  2. What does it mean to be human (in the face of technologically-enhanced humans, cyborgs and humans uploaded into a virtual world)?

“Consciousness is the ground of being” is the profound idea which moved Dr. Goswami’s work, meaning, everything starts with consciousness, that’s when possibilities become an actual, manifested reality.

In this interview Dr. Goswami talks about many of the basic concepts (built on the idea stated above) which give physicists a good starting point as they begin to study this important part of our reality. Of course, he explains it a lot better than I do in this interview.

While watching this I said “Yes!” and “That’s right!” so many times. It was nice to have so many ideas I’ve learned intuitively are right on track.

Enjoy!

Description From YouTube – Published on September 1, 2012

Dr Amit Goswami ‘Consciousness, Quantum Physics and Being Human’ Interview by Iain McNay on ConsciousTV.

Author of many books including: ‘How Quantum Activism Can Save Civilization,’ ‘The Visionary Window: A Quantum Physicist’s Guide to Enlightenment’ and ‘God Is Not Dead’ talks about his life and how discovering that consciousness Is the ground of being changed his scientific thinking and also his approach to life as a human being.

He also explains downward causation, quantum non-locality, free will, intention, the observer effect, quantum collapse and how consciousness creates the manifest world.

source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnQ63AOrs6s

 

PS. I’d like to thank Zen Gardener for posting this on his website, which is where I discovered it…

Think Before You Speak, You Are Being Recorded

What was just a “conspiracy theory” bit of paranoid thinking yesterday has crept upon the stage of our consensual reality today.

Yesterday I would have thought that maybe some time, in the future, “Big Brother” will try to listen in on our every conversation, vacuuming up every scrap of careless phone call chatter to store in vast data centers forever to be used against you, if necessary.

Think-Before-You-Speak--You-Are-Being-Recorded

This week a former FBI counterterrorism agent casually talks about how this is being done all the time during an interview on CNN’s Out Front with Erin Burnett…

Here’s the story from Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian UK

Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?

A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case

CNN Clemente
Former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente, on CNN, discussing government’s surveillance capabilities Photograph: CNN screengrab

The real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance state are almost entirely unknown to the American public because, like most things of significance done by the US government, it operates behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy. But a seemingly spontaneous admission this week by a former FBI counterterrorism agent provides a rather startling acknowledgment of just how vast and invasive these surveillance activities are.

Over the past couple days, cable news tabloid shows such as CNN’s Out Front with Erin Burnett have been excitingly focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. As part of their relentless stream of leaks uncritically disseminated by our Adversarial Press Corps, anonymous government officials are claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and Tsarnaev that took place both before and after the attack to determine if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way.

On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could:

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”

“All of that stuff” – meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant – “is being captured as we speak”.

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Don’t Just Do Something…

Every month I like to throw a new quote on the header for this site. The quote for this month reads, “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

5-1-2013-Dont-just-do-something

We live in a world where people and events push us to react emotionally, or overreact, all the time. Whether it’s in personal relationships or in the mass media, we constantly find ourselves in situations where we are being pushed to react as quickly as possible – don’t just stand there, DO SOMETHING!!!

We’ve seen this repeatedly over the last year – immediately after a horrific event, emotionally traumatized people, fueled by the media, clamoring for those in authority to do something, do anything, to create an illusion of security against this same kind of trauma happening again.

If you’re in a true emergency, and are a first responder, it might be necessary to do whatever is needed in the moment, but not after the initial trauma is dealt with – not in the aftermath.

We saw this reaction after the tragedies of the Aurora Theater shooting, after the Sandy Hook school shooting, and after the Boston Marathon bombing. We will see it again next time a horrific event happens.

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The Wall of Weed

Happy 420! To celebrate I’d like to give you a wall of weed!

The Wall of Weed

Above: Online promo graphic for The Wall of Weed… feel free to copy and share.

About The Wall of Weed

This art piece contains 1960 photos from over 650 different batches of medical marijuana. There are close to 350 different strains represented on the wall.

These photos were taken between 2008 and 2012 in Long Beach, California.

Link: http://onehumanbeing.com/wall-of-weed/
Note: the page can take up to a minute to load – lots and lots of photos to load…

Here’s a short bit I wrote awhile ago about how I got started taking photos:

In June of 2008 I started taking photos and posting menus on WeedTracker.com for a local, Long Beach collective called CCLB, Canna Collective Long Beach.

The whole thing started as a fluke – I just wanted CCLB to keep up with their menu posting because gas prices were soaring and online people wanted to know what was available before they made the long drive – sometimes coming all the way from San Diego – a nearly 300 mile round trip.

My round trip to CCLB was only 10 miles, so during June I started my volunteer gig as the Menu Guy for CCLB. Over the July 4th weekend, through a series of events I’ve written about elsewhere, I officially became an unpaid, community volunteer at CCLB and through October of that year I photographed nearly 80 different strains, some of them several times…

Goals and Format

I had several goals in mind while taking these photos:

  1. Capture the most average, “representative” buds to photograph. I was not looking for the biggest and best buds to photograph, just the buds that an average patient would get if they went to the collective.
  2. Use a repeatable format so people could focus on the herb, not the photographs.

The format I settled on after about a year was 3 photos per batch.

  • The first shot was of four (more or less) buds grouped around a quarter to give the idea of size. I weighed each of these buds to add to the image when I processed the photos.
  • The second photo would be the single bud shot.
  • The third shot was the close up, and by 2010 I had finally started to achieve some great shots with the close-up.
  • For awhile I took a forth shot – a jar shot from above.

I usually took about 60-80 photos of each batch to make sure I had what I needed to pick the best shot.

These photos were used as “menu photos” for the websites of the various non-profit collectives I volunteered at during this time.

Fun Fact: Each photo in this collection is 420 pixels by 420 pixels – except 1. Can you find the one odd-sized photo?

Dedication and Thanks

The Wall of Weed is dedicated to my friend Josh Howard who got me started on this photo project in June of 2008 when he was the budtender extraordinaire at CCLB. Thanks Josh!

A special thanks goes out to those who helped facilitate this project over the last few years – Eli, Nichole, Sam, Val and Harvey.

 

P.S. I know the question you have in your mind, and the answer is yes – I did sample more than 90% of the batches shown here… Happy 420!

PORTFOLIO – The Art of Jon Christopher

Featured

Jon, onehumanbeing“So, what do you do?”

“I’m an artist.”

“Really, what kind of art do you make? Do you paint?”

This is where I always pause, while my brain quickly runs through the mental catalog of the numerous art objects I’ve created over my lifetime, the wide variety…

“I do all kinds of stuff…” I usually end up replying.

If they look like they might want to hear more, I might say, “Mostly I make collages. Just about everything I do is based on collage – putting separate items together to create a new image, object, idea, sound-scape etc.”

Most people seem to go blank at this point. That’s when I throw in a new idea for them to consider, “Right now I’m focused on consciousness, and how to make art out of consciousness.”

I’m very proud of the brave people who want to find out more after that…

Introducing PORTFOLIO

PORTFOLIO from onehumanbeing.com

  • 112 Paintings
  • 98 Drawings
  • 155 Collages
  • 41 Photo Works
  • 9 Videos
  • Sound Collages – 6 albums, 7 EPs, 5 Singles and 4 Early Works

I’ve spent the last week (about 80 hours of computer time) adding work to the online retrospective show of my art since 1991. This is a major upgrade to a site I started work on in 2011 – if you visited it before you’ll find that the whole site has been extensively updated.

It’s been a very involved process, and just might be my favorite website I’ve ever built.

The PORTFOLIO is now open and ready for viewing! Continue reading

The Enlightened One

Note from Jon – I found this online yesterday and wanted to keep a copy for future reference (and, of course, for you, the reader, to discover something new…) – If you want to see the original post with all it’s extensive reference notes, click here: http://www.godwin-home-page.net/Friends/Enlightened-One/Enlightened-One.htm

If you wish to find out more about Godwin, you can go here: http://www.godwin-home-page.net/index.html

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Above: Godwin in Germany in the 1990’s

The Enlightened One

by Bhante S. Dhammika

One day Godwin and I were discussing what the enlightened person might be like. As usual the conversation was wide-ranging and eluded to ideas from the Buddhist texts, Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi, Taoism and other traditions. We both agreed that the usual Theravadin conception of the arahat as a rather stiff and unsmiling monk seemed to be inadequate. “Bhante”, he said, “why don’t you go through the Tipitaka, take out all the descriptions of arahats and put them together?” I thought this a good idea and agreed to do it.

Some months later I showed Godwin what I had written and he was delighted with the many interesting things I had found. But he also mentioned several things I had missed which he thought should be included. The enlightened one’s ability to be at home anywhere, one of his favourite ideas, was one thing he mentioned. He also urged me to include something about non-duality, a concept he had become much interested in during the last few years.

After some more reading and writing and a few more discussions with him I put what I had written in its final form and got ready to show it to him. But it was not to be. Death intervened and our twenty-three year long friendship came to an end. Now reading through what I have written, I do not know whether it is an accurate description of the enlightened person but I am again and again reminded of Godwin himself. I offer this piece of writing as a humble tribute to the kindest friend and the wisest teacher I have ever known. Continue reading

Roadtrekkin’ To Anza-Borrego

Anza-Borrego-Tania-Roadtrek-190

This last week we took a road trip to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in a Roadtrek 190 – here’s the story…

Intro – The Roadtrekker Plan

The plan for this adventure began last year, with the goal being to go camping in our friend’s Roadtrek 190 RV (a very generous friend!) to see what “RV Camping” was like, and to decide if we’d want to take the RV on a cross-country adventure later this year.

A month ago we added another goal – to make a perfect Moscow Mule while camping. Very important stuff!

Last March we made reservations at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for this year – we got a site with “full hook-ups” – A term we weren’t familiar with yet, but were told this is what we wanted.

Anza-Boreggo-Reservation-Sign2

All of our camping in the past has been car camping and tent camping. We had a Vanagon back in the mid-90’s, but it wasn’t anything close to the experience of the Roadtrek 190.

As we discovered this week, RV camping is very different from regular camping… Continue reading

The Man Who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees

In honor of the first day of Spring I recommend a wonderful and uplifting short story of what one human being can do to improve the world around them… simply, quietly and without fanfare.

Enjoy!!!

Read The Story

The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono

The story begins in the year 1910, when this young man is undertaking a lone hiking trip through Provence, France, and into the Alps, enjoying the relatively unspoiled wilderness.

The narrator runs out of water in a treeless, desolate valley where only wild lavender grows and there is no trace of civilization except old, empty crumbling buildings. The narrator finds only a dried up well, but is saved by a middle-aged shepherd who takes him to a spring he knows of.

Curious about this man and why he has chosen such a lonely life, the narrator stays with him for a time. The shepherd, after being widowed, has decided to restore the ruined landscape of the isolated and largely abandoned valley by single-handedly cultivating a forest, tree by tree. The shepherd, Elzéard Bouffier, makes holes in the ground with his curling pole and drops into the holes acorns that he has collected from many miles away…

read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Planted_Trees

Link to story: http://homepages.tcp.co.uk/~nicholson/theman.html

Watch The Video

Below is a really good animated short film made from the story. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1987.

Above: The Man Who Planted Trees from MrGreatShortFilms on Vimeo.

Continue reading

The Great American Cowboy And Other Images

Ring-of-Power-3-Cowboy-b

Yesterday afternoon I watched a really long alternative history type documentary with pretty low production values – lots of appropriated “History Channel” kind of video material that, well, mostly fit the narrative.

Towards the end of the film the video quality totally deteriorated. Bad video compression? Copied too many times? Both? – I don’t know, but the picture was digitally trashed.

After a little bit of listening to the narrator talk along with the rather abstract video, it made me start to think, “hey, it’s actually better this way” – a lot of the digital distortions had a very painterly touch.

I ended up spending several hours crawling through the last part of the video selecting and capturing images, starting with the cowboy (The Great American Cowboy I call it because it looks so iconic) image at the top of this page.

Here are some of the many screen captures I made last night… enjoy!

Philip K. Dick Reading Club – The Beginning of the Adventure

[Update – February 17, 2013 – There is now a Philip K. Dick Reading Club website for all my PKD postings]

PKD-reading-club-2-2013It started with a post on Facebook on Saturday morning (February 2, 2013):

“I have never read any work by Philip K Dick, even though he’s considered by some to be one of the greatest novelists of the Twentieth Century. This month I’m launching into a marathon reading project to try and read all 45 of his novels (not all in one month, but I’m starting now…)

My dilemma is that I’m not quite sure how to approach this body of work, which includes the story that became Blade Runner (many of his novels have been turned into major films).

Should I start with his first novel (Solar Lottery) and read them in order of publishing – the linear approach – or should I read certain books first to understand the Philip K. Dick world before I read his more obscure works?

Feedback from PKD fans would really be appreciated! Thanks…”

There were some comments that went back a forth and by the evening time we had a small book club started 🙂

We begin our reading journey on Saturday, February 9th with PKD’s first novel – Solar Lottery

Our official Facebook page is here: http://www.facebook.com/PhilipKDickReadingClub Continue reading

A Conscious Change

This is the follow-up post to Driving Towards The End Of The World – After The End Of The World, Part One, a look back on 2012 and my own personal adventure during that year riding the bipolarcoaster, creating art and watching the wheels go round and round as each day we moved closer to the end of the world…

In this post we go down a rabbit hole of books – into fear and loathing, conspiracy theories, alien abductions, near-death experiences and finally into the NOW as I write about my reading journey to the fringes of the world of ideas in pursuit of my subject, consciousness – while looking for better descriptions of the human experience.

After The End Of The World, Part Two

Book-pile

Change is an unpredictable process. Every day you’re constantly in the process of changing, but once in a great while a quantum leap kind-of-change can come along and really speed up the process.

It arrives suddenly, quickly, in a moment, but it’s usually the result of a number of changes over a period of time which have built on each other like a kind of pressure. When there’s a new vibration, frequency or idea which pushes the pressure past the tipping point a quantum leap change can happen – and then suddenly everything becomes different.

After the year I’d had in 2012, and the devastation which depression was wrecking upon my psyche, I desperately needed a change. Not an external change but one inside me… and not a little change but the quantum leap size change. I just had no idea what it could be that would do this, or how to get there… Continue reading

Family Photo Memories

box-of-family-photos-800pxSunday evening my sister Barbara stopped by and dropped off our family photos- our souvenirs of family memories stretching back from around 1919.

My two oldest sisters, Barbara and Judy, had organized them according to the various family members, with a plastic box for each of us, and also some big envelopes of larger photos. Now I planned on scanning a bunch of them into the computer so our whole family (and it’s a big family) can enjoy them.

Tania and I spent the night looking through my box (and a large envelope of all my school pictures) and then through my dad’s boxes (he has three) until our eyeballs were about ready to fall out from seeing too much.

I think I got a bigger view of how my family fits together from this photographic journey, including various aunts, uncles and cousins whom I have never met – branches of my family who now have, at least, a picture-like existence in my mind.

On Monday I posted a few of the family photos on my Facebook page, which I’m re-posting here to save for my own future reference, for my families benefit (not everyone is on Facebook), and for you to enjoy.

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Driving Towards The End Of The World

Introduction  – The Ongoing Documentation Of Life

For over 30 years I’ve been consciously saving little souvenirs of my journey through life – stuff to help document the adventure. I don’t know why this is so important to me, but it is, and it affects much of the way I approach life.

Writing has played a huge part of the documentation process – years and years of filling up journals, writing and editing stories posted on the internet and numerous short essays that I’ve never published. Millions of words just trying to capture the experience of one human being during this pilgrimage here on planet Earth.

Here is the latest installment in the story reflecting on the year I had in 2012 – it’s called “Driving Towards The End Of The World”. I choose that title because, you know, the world was supposed to end last year, which it didn’t 🙂

So before I jump into writing about some really nice changes that have happened since the end of the world I thought I should post something to document 2012 from this one human being’s perspective…

After The End Of The World, Part One

jon-2012December 21, 2012 – a.k.a. “the end of the world” – was quite a good day for me. Probably one of the best days I’d had in weeks, and definitely one of my top ten best days of 2012.

Maybe I was just glad we had reached that date we had all been speculating about for years, or maybe the day really did have some special cosmic alignment I was feeling. Maybe it was because my wife and best friend, Tania, had the day off and it was a wonderful happy morning around the homestead… whatever the cause, it was a day where the burdens of the world slipped from my shoulders for a moment, and the depression, which this year had been the worst it has ever been for me, was pushed back for a moment.

Now that the end of the world was behind us I could feel like something else might happen. Like we had passed a giant border sign while driving through a long desert, “Welcome to the State of Now”. At first nothing seems different, but when you stop for gas at the first town across the border you realize you truly are in a different state, and all that entails…

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The Novel As A Long Term Creative Project

The Late Great American Novel – progress report, early January, 2013…

The-Late-Great-American-Novel2-600px

I’m finding that being “in the process of writing” my first novel-sized literary construction to be an excellent way to watch the long-term (meaning anything that took longer than a couple of days to finish) creative process as it happens.

I’ve struggled with long-term projects in the past due to my mercurial attention span. But this is now, and who I was in the past doesn’t matter much if it’s not helping me out in the present, right? Now I’m into long-term projects.

Most creative projects I work on are completed relatively fast, and things like paintings are finished much too quickly to stretch the creative moment out and really examine it. This novel is giving me the time-space to really watch the process from a “bigger picture” perspective, like watching creativity in slow motion.

In some ways it’s like I’m the only person who can see into this strange alternate universe coming into being out of an amazing stream of words which have their own source somewhere beyond myself, with a gravity all it’s own, drawing in the materials which fall into it’s slowly forming orbit.

For months (October through December) the story just stopped, but in that “hold on a minute, I’ll be right back” kind of way. Meanwhile all kinds of interesting ideas, flashes of intuition and useful esoteric information has drifted across my path and provided material which will make this novel much, much better – I think…

Lately bits of new writing have been flashing through my mind, building pieces for the next part of the story. Chapter 61 is now pretty much written out in my head, and is floating around my mind like clouds heavy with water. The forecast says there’s a 70% chance of rain by this next weekend.

Until later, best of health.

Christmas Card 2012

Christmas Card 2012

tania: all it needs now is some lights…
jon: how many strands do you think we’ll need?

Title: Decorating The Mayan Pyramid Of The Jaguar in Tikal, Guatemala
Format: 3D cardboard cut-out collage
Original Image Size: 25” x 24” x 20”

We spent a couple of days working on this project in early December, from brainstorming to the final printed card – here’s some photos (see below) from the process. Enjoy!

Gallery Of Images From Creating The Card

Off-The-Grid In Hidden Valley

Tania and I don’t just go camping, we mount a small expedition in our Honda Element. We pack our car with all the camping gear and supplies we’ll need for the next few days. We’ve got our tent and chairs, a stove, 3 bundles of wood, 9 gallons of water, food, flashlights, lanterns, firestarter, pots and pans, cooking utensils and on and on… and usually nothing that we don’t end up needing.

We usually spend a couple days preparing our supplies in a process refined by years of camping, and especially camping at Hidden Valley Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, (where we’ve camped at least 7 times so far – each time a unique experience.)

Then, along with our two dogs, Moseley and Suki, we leave cellphones and computers behind and enjoy some time off-the-grid… this year we spent our time in site #25.

In Our Element

Our love affair with Joshua Tree began eight years ago when we got our Honda Element, which we bought because we wanted a camping-mobile (among other things.)

Here’s a photo from our first camping trip at Hidden Valley in June of 2004 with our green Element in the background.

2004

The Element has been an awesome mini-expedition vehicle. Before we got the Element we had not gone camping for a few years and really missed the time away from the city, just the two of us together, or with a small group of friends.

Our history of camping together goes back twenty-some years. Tania and I even got married while camping in Big Sur twenty years ago on October 12, 1992.

Here’s a photo from just after the ceremony under the redwood trees at Limekiln Campground in Big Sur. We had a Volkswagen Vanagon back then for our expeditions…

1992

Boulders and The Light

Over the years many different things have been my focus-of-the-moment in this love affair with Joshua Tree, from the Joshua Trees themselves to the Gram Parsons legacy to the broad landscape of trees and boulders.

Currently I’m fascinated by the way the light changes the shape, color and presence of boulders. As an artist I marvel at the light and wonder how to capture it’s majesty in some kind of medium – a painting, sculpture, something I haven’t thought of… It’s a problem I keep turning around in my mind.

So far, I can only capture a photo of the idea, a mere representation of the real moment. This (see photo below) is what the light really looks like at sunset in the fall, but the real moment was 100 times better than any photo we could have taken.

This year’s expedition was the first time we camped in Joshua Tree during October. Usually we camp around September 19th in remembrance of Gram Parsons, one of my favorite musicians.

The light in October is very different than September. The angle of the light is steeper and full of contrast. Around our anniversary on the 12th the light is magical, and this year we had an unseasonal cold front that added a coolness we’d never experienced in our September camp-outs.

This Year’s Expedition

We arrived in Hidden Valley on Wednesday the 10th. Of the 44 camp sites, only 3 or 4 were still available. One of those sites was #25, on a side of the inner loop we had never camped on before.

The first night we had thunder and lightning in the middle of the night with rain. Our Hobitat tent which we bought a few years back from R.E.I. was very water-tight, and just we laid there enjoying the sounds and lightning throughout the night.

The next couple of days were unseasonably cool all day with beautiful clouds flying across the wide open sky. I wore a hoodie and knit cap most of the time, and really bundled up for the evening’s campfire.

We spent our time taking walks with our dogs, boulder scrambling, taking photos, talking, hanging out, napping and generally relaxing. It was a bit of heaven. And everywhere we looked were beautiful boulders basking in the changing sunlight.

At night the temperatures dropped down to 38 degrees one night and 40 degrees another night – very cold when you have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

On Friday the 12th we celebrated our 26th year together with special beers in the afternoon, a nice nap and a great afternoon walk… later Tania cooked-up an outstanding rib-eye steak and potatoes for dinner and then we relaxed around the campfire for conversation and more beers. A magical day all around.

The weather was finally warming up when we were packing up camp on Saturday morning the 13th to come home.

Moseley (a real homebody) was happy to be back home, while little Suki pup is already waiting for the next adventure.

Gallery of Photos

Here’s a selection of photos from this expedition into Joshua Tree. The photo order starts with morning photos and goes into the night, but covers several days of camping. All the photos have captions to tell you more about our expedition – Enjoy!

26 Years of Love!

Adding another photo to our annual Anniversary Day post…

Above – Photographed on the eve of this year’s anniversary – October 11, 2012 at Hidden Valley Campground in Joshua Tree National Park…

The Jon and Tania Story – In 27 Photos!

We started going out on October 12, 1986, got married on October 12, 1992 (our sixth anniversary) and now 26 wonderful years have gone by…

To celebrate our Anniversary, here’s a gallery of photos of us together from 26 years of love – From 1987 until now, with one photo representing each year of the journey.

Enjoy!

Joshua Tree – Hidden Valley Campground – 24 Views

My mind in on Joshua Tree this week, due to an upcoming camping trip…

There is so much beauty to see in Joshua Tree National Park – there is the land itself along with the iconic namesake trees. There are the small flowers, the lizards, snakes, plants of various kinds – and then there are the boulders. I love the boulders!

This video, which was filmed in 2006 in Hidden Valley Campground – one of the best rock-climbing locations in the world – consists of 24 views, each one 10 to 15 seconds long, filmed in the warm, afternoon light…

One of the many reasons I return again and again to Joshua Tree National Park is to watch the light play across the boulders. It’s a very slow form of beauty and it’s worth spending all day just watching the light change the color of the boulders, re-drawing them over and over again into new and interesting variations.

When I’m back in my regular city life, and I daydream about camping in Joshua Tree, I imagine these boulders in the warm afternoon light…and what I imagine is what you see here – Enjoy!

Credits – the music is by Scenic, and the song is called “Lunar Afternoon” – it’s off of their album called “Acid Gospel Experience”, which I highly recommend.

All video segments were filmed by Jon, onehumanbeing.